A story for all

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How do you tell a story that suits everyone who hears it?

It is not uncommon for visiting university students to reflect that they found a production unsatisfying in various ways. I generally ask them what it would have taken for the production to have satisfied them. Out comes a long list of desires. Perhaps they want a new perspective on the play, perhaps they want innovative readings of the text, fresh, but not too fresh, staging possibilities.

Very rarely do they say they simply want to be entertained.

I often remind them that they are probably not the target audience, indeed that their self consciously intellectual perspective might be a minority one amongst the whole audience. This often sparks an interesting discussion about who the RSC’s target audience might be?

School groups?

Locals?

Tourists?

Shakespearians?

On any given night at the theatre there will be at least some of the following people in the audience.

Children between the ages of 5 and 10.

Visitors who speak very little English.

Academics or enthusiasts who may have seen this play, even this production, many times.

Scholars who recognise edits from different editions.

People who have never seen a Shakespeare play before

People who think they hate Shakespeare and have reluctantly accompanied a friend/relative/teacher to the theatre.

People like you.

People like me.

We each have different ideas of the perfect production. On any one night only some of them will be satisfied.

So next time you visit the theatre, if the production does not suit you think about who it might suit. Because it is almost certain it suits someone. Perfectly.

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Author:Liz Dollimore

Someone who loves listening to people talk about Shakespeare Liz tweets at @shakespeareBT
  • Liz Woledge

    Thanks – I was a bit lucky with the timing that time, there were several less successful drafts first!

  • Liz Woledge

    Thanks – I was a bit lucky with the timing that time, there were several less successful drafts first!

  • http://ajleon.me/ ajleon

    Liz, I *love* the creativity behind that video, very very nice. :)

  • Liz Woledge

    thanks, it was a lot of fun to make!

  • Liz Woledge

    thanks, it was a lot of fun to make!

  • melissaleon

    LOVE LOVE LOVE the video!!!!!

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